The 2023 WWE Draft will kick off on the April 28th episode of SmackDown and then will continue on the May 1st episode of Monday Night Raw.
Last week on WWE SmackDown, Triple H appeared on Friday Night SmackDown and revealed a major shakeup is on the way to the WWE. Triple H insisted it is time to look to the future, before confirming the return of the WWE draft and that every superstar is eligible for it in the coming weeks.
The last time the WWE held a draft was in 2021. Some notable jumps include Charlotte Flair, Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, and The New Day going to SmackDown and Bianca Belair, Edge, and Rey & Dominik Mysterio heading to Raw. There were also some NXT call ups as Hit Row, Aliyah, and Austin Theory made it to the main roster.
HISTORY OF THE WWE DRAFT
The WWE Draft was first introduced in 2002, following the end of the WWE Brand Extension. At the time, WWE had two main brands: Raw and SmackDown. Each brand had its own set of Superstars, championships, and storylines. However, some Superstars were allowed to appear on both brands, leading to confusion and a lack of distinctiveness between the two shows.
The solution was the WWE Draft. In the first Draft, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and then-General Manager of SmackDown, Ric Flair, selected Superstars to join their respective brands. The Draft was a success, and it has been an annual event ever since, with a few exceptions.
HOW THE WWE DRAFT WORKS
The WWE Draft usually takes place over two nights, with each brand taking turns selecting Superstars. The Draft can involve any Superstars, including champions, tag teams, and NXT call-ups. In recent years, WWE has also included a “free agent” pool of Superstars who are not on either brand but can be drafted by either brand.
There are different rules for each Draft. In some years, brands can only draft a certain number of Superstars, or there are restrictions on which Superstars can be drafted. For example, in the 2020 WWE Draft, tag teams counted as one pick, and Raw was allowed three picks for every two SmackDown picks due to being a longer show.